Meet the Finalist: Lawrence Chau, "Justice for Vincent"


Tell us about yourself, and about Justice for Vincent.

Lawrence Chau is an award-winning TV host with credits spanning Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada and the US. In America, he is most known as the host of the paranormal series Ghostly Encounters (Destination America). However, his love for acting and filmmaking propelled him to pen and produce his first short film Justice For Vincent (JFV), which was shot in Los Angeles with director Andy Palmer. “We’ve had a banner year on the film festival circuit and I’m thrilled JFV has been embraced by such diverse audiences across the country,” says Chau, who notes that the message of the Asian American social justice piece is universal: “a mother’s loss is a mother’s loss; hate is hate; injustice is injustice." In addition to being honored as Best Narrative Film and Best Original Story in July by the New York Film Awards, JFV has scored a prestigious New York Film Awards Best Narrative Short 2019 Annual nomination.

Share a memorable moment you experienced working on this project.

Justice For Vincent is based on the real life murder of Vincent Chin, whose hate crime in 1982 sparked the largest Asian civil rights movement in America. Aside from filming the short almost exactly 36 years to the date of Chin’s death — in miraculously two days(!) — one of the most memorable moments of making the film was getting Hollywood A-list stunt coordinator Steven John Brown involved. Being of biracial Korean American descent, Brown was so moved by the script and motivated by the lack of Asian American social justice stories in Hollywood, he made time from filming Avatar 2 to masterfully choreograph the brutal baseball bat murder scene. We were floored because this is a man with credits spanning Wonder Woman, Deadpool 2, X-Men, Logan and The Equalizer helping us on a short. The other most memorable moment had to do with casting. Veteran actress Elizabeth Sung (The Joy Luck Club, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Young & the Restless) had first signed on to portray Vincent’s mother Lily, but sadly passed away weeks before production. Having lived through the real life case, she understood its importance and was committed to seeing the project through. Even though Sung was in so much pain she helped us find her replacement, which came by way of her friend Lee Chen. Chen delivered a knockout performance that I’m sure has Sung smiling with pride from above. Another coup came by way of landing veteran actor William McNamara to partake in this meaningful project.

Name 3 dream-list collaborators.

Oprah Winfrey

Ang Lee

Keanu Reeves

3 tips you’d like to share with aspiring artists in your field:

Discipline

Tenacity

Harness the Power of Networking

What do you hope to achieve in your career in the next 5 years?

IJustice For Vincent has garnered more than 20 accolades in a year. It served, in many ways, as validation for tackling new terrain as a first time screenwriter and film producer, also as an actor. I’d love to expand on those areas by venturing into feature films. I’ve been milling a romcom, a horror, and some other dramas. I’d also love to act and host more, but one thing I’ve learnt in show business is to embrace unpredictability. You honestly have no idea where the road will lead you in this crazy business. You just have to keep at it.

Justice for Vincent is nominated for Best Narrative Short of the Year at the New York Film Awards.

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